GANDHINAGAR: With the initial trends pointing at the return of the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Gujarat, Congress state in charge Raghu Sharma on Thursday expressed hope of having "surprising" results for this party.
Speaking to ANI, Sharma said, "Surprising results will come in favour of the Congress party. BJP will not be seen in reality. Wait for the final results."
The BJP, according to the latest trends by the Election Commission, is leading on 148 seats out of the total 182, which if converted to the final results, will break its own record of winning 127 seats in 2002.
The Congress party and Aam Aadmi Party are in the second and third spots with 20 and 7 seats respectively in the trends till 10.10 am. The independents are leading on three assembly seats. Counting votes for the Gujarat Assembly elections began on Thursday at 8 am. The counting in Gujarat began at 37 centres in 33 districts.
Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer P Bharathi said that 182 counting observers, 182 election officers and 494 assistant election officers are on duty for the counting process.
There will be an additional 78 Assistant Election Officers for the counting of votes. In addition, 71 additional Assistant Election Officers have been assigned responsibility for the electronically transmitted postal ballot system in the previous polls Assembly elections in Gujarat were held in two phases on December 1 and 5.
The approximate voter turnout in Gujarat by the end of the second phase of the Gujarat elections was recorded at 59.11 per cent. During the first phase of polling on December 1, Gujarat witnessed an overall turnout of 63.14 per cent. While polling for 68 assembly seats in Himachal Pradesh was held on November 12.
Meanwhile, the exit polls have indicated a clear win for the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Gujarat. Exit polls have predicted that the BJP will comfortably win a seventh straight term. BJP has been in power in Gujarat for 27 years with Prime Minister Narendra Modi remaining in the Chief Minister's post for the longest time before becoming the Prime Minister.
Congress gave a tough fight to the ruling BJP in the last assembly elections in 2017. However, AAP may spoil the game for Congress by taking away a significant vote share in their favour.